Thrilling new DVDs for February

A great feast of Home Entertainment for all tastes

LifeLIFE If ever you wanted to spend a week with James Dean, the superb Life is an outstanding film that transports us to New York of the 50s when Dean was at the beginning of his career. Inspired by the true story of a friendship that developed between Magnum photographer Dennis Stock (Robert Pattinson) and actor James Dean (Dane DeHaan) when Stock was commissioned to photograph the actor for LIFE magazine in 1955,  Australian screenwriter Luke Davies’s heartfelt screenplay is strikingly brought to life by director Anton Corbijn (A Most Wanted Man). Pattinson and DeHaan are perfectly cast and embody the true spirit of their characters, with and equally brilliant performances by Ben Kingsley as the enigmatic producer Jack Warner and Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Warrior) as John Morris. The film is not just a biopic about Dean’s life, but the heart-warming story of a photographer who desperately wanted to capture the soul of a fledgling star and free spirit who would change popular culture from suits to jeans and from matinee idols to teenage heartthrob.Life is an ideal film for anyone who has a love affair with movies, and also a film for discerning audiences looking for a film that captures the essence of true friendship and how strange encounters can alter our lives.


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BURNT Bradley Cooper delivers another great performance as an impassioned Chef in search of perfection and understanding. He plays a celebrity chef who had it all and lost it. As a two-star Michelin rockstar with the bad habits to match, the former enfant terrible of the Paris restaurant scene did everything different every time out, and only ever cared about the thrill of creating explosions of taste. To land his own kitchen and that third elusive Michelin star though, he’ll need the best of the best on his side, including the beautiful Helen (Sienna Miller). Daniel Brühl is superb as Adam’s former maître d’hôtel, who now manages his father’s hotel and gives Adam a second chance. Burnt is a remarkably funny and emotional story about the love of food, the love between two people, and the power of second chances.

HomesmanTHE HOMESMAN A gritty western produced and directed by Tommy Lee Jones and co-written with Kieran Fitzgerald and Wesley Oliver, based on the 1988 novel of the same name by Glendon Swarthout.  It tells the alarming story of three women (Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter) living on the edge of the American frontier who are driven mad by harsh pioneer life and are saved by the pious, independent-minded Mary Bee Cuddy (a superb performance by Hilary Swank). Transporting the women by covered wagon to Iowa, she soon realizes just how daunting the journey will be, and employs a low-life drifter, George Briggs (an equally superb performance by Tommy Lee Jones), to join her. The unlikely pair and the three women head east, where a waiting minister and his wife (Meryl Streep). James Spader makes a great cameo appearance as an arrogant Hotel owner who refuses to give them a place to overnight. The title refers to the task of taking immigrants back home, which was typically a man’s job to carry out.

Dark PlacesDARK PLACES  Heart-breaking secrets are uncovered in this haunting thriller that shines a hopeful light on the human condition and broken lives.  Adapted from Gillian’s Flynn’s 2009 novel that that preceded her breakout hit Gone Girl, it features Charlize Theron immersing herself heart and soul in the character of a Libby Day, a woman whose entire life is based on a lie.The tragic circumstances that shaped Day’s existence and turned her into a ‘celebrity’ occurred on a farm in Kansas, where she was the only surviving witness of a horrific massacre that took the lives of her mother and sisters. Believing the slaughter to be the work of a Satanic cult, she testified in court against her own brother and almost thirty years after the murder, she remains haunted by the gruesome violence of her past. Her funds run out and in a desperate attempt to get money she meets the leader of a group of amateur true crime enthusiasts (Nicholas Hoult) who call themselves ‘The Kill Club’, and is persuaded to unearth painful memories and possibly prove her brother’s innocence.Theron plays another wounded character in search of redemption, following similar roles in Monster and Mad Max: Fury Road. French director Gilles Paquet-Brenner (who also wrote the screenplay) has created a taut character piece that takes us on a gloomy and gritty journey into the lives of characters that live in the shadows of humanity.

Kidnapping-Freddy-Heinekennew-xlargeKIDNAPPING OF FREDDY HEINEKEN This thrilling human drama is based on crime journalist Peter R. de Vries’s account of what has been called “the most notorious kidnapping of the 21st Century,” Kidnapping Freddy Heineken explores the abduction of Dutch billionaire brewery magnate Freddy Heineken (Anthony Hopkins) and his chauffeur, Ab Doderer, who were kidnapped in 1983 and held for what was the largest ransom for an individual at the time.  It features great performances from Jim Sturgess, Sam Worthington and Ryan Kwanten as the hapless kidnappers who find themselves in a world of snags.

Miss MeadowsMISS MEADOWS Katie Holmes is fantastic as a prim school teacher Miss Meadows, who is not entirely what she appears. Her well-mannered exterior hides the soul of a vigilante, who takes it upon herself to right the wrongs in this cruel world by whatever means necessary. Complications arise when she becomes romantically entangled with the town sheriff (James Badge Dale) and her steadfast moral compass is thrown off, begging the question: “Who is the real Miss Meadows and what is she hiding?”

CATCHHELL-master675CATCH HELL The film follows washed up Hollywood actor Reagan Pearce (RyanPhillippe) who is kidnapped by thugs in Shreveport, Louisiana while on location making a movie. Trapped in a swamp hut, his kidnappers (Russ Russo and Stephen Louis Grush) torture and blackmail him, hijacking his twitter account and threatening to upload compromising material. Accused of sleeping with the wife of one of his kidnappers, Pearce must now face his own demons in order to escape his captors and regain his reputation.  How can he escape his predicament? This exciting thriller marks the directorial debut of Philippe, who also wrote the screenplay.

Green InfernoTHE GREEN INFERNO New York college student Justine (Lorenza Izzo), a lawyer’s daughter, meets a student activist named Alejandro (Ariel Levy) when he goes on a hunger strike on behalf of underpaid janitors. Smitten, Justine agrees to help Alejandro undertake his next project: to save the Amazon. She soon learns to regret her decision when their plane crashes in the Peruvian jungle and she and the rest of their group are taken captive by a tribe of hungry cannibals. This splatter cannibal horror film was directed by Eli Roth and co-written by Roth and Guillermo Amoedoand was inspired by Italian cannibal films of the late 1970s and early ’80s “cannibal boom,” including Cannibal Holocaust (1980), which features a film-within-a-film titled The Green Inferno. The film was criticized by Survival International, which campaigns for indigenous peoples and indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation, as reinforcing colonialism and respectively neocolonialism, as well as their stigmas against indigenous peoples, portraying them as savage.

Eli Roth

Eli Roth

Roth dismissed this argument as unimportant for stopping exploitation: “The idea that a fictional movie about a fictional tribe could somehow hurt indigenous people when gas companies are tearing these villages apart on a daily basis is simply absurd. These companies don’t need an excuse — they have one — the natural resources in the ground. They can window dress things however they like, but nobody will destroy a village because they didn’t like a character in a movie, they’ll do it because they want to get rich by draining what’s under the village. The fear that somehow a movie would give them ammunition to destroy a tribe all sounds like misdirected anger and frustration that the corporations are the ones controlling the fates of these uncontacted tribes.

American UltraAMERICAN ULTRA In this fast-paced action comedy, the small-town life of a seemingly hapless and unmotivated stoner[Jesse Eisenberg] with his live-in girlfriend, Phoebe [Kirsten Stewart], is suddenly turned upside down. Unbeknownst to him, Mike is actually a highly trained, lethal sleeper agent created by the CIA, which has just targeted him for termination. As some of the agency’s deadliest assets are unleashed upon his sleepy town, Mike’s sympathetic former handler, Lasseter [Connie Britton], activates his latent skills, turning the mild-mannered slacker into a superhuman killing machine. As Mike’s once-simple life becomes an adrenaline-fueled chase, no one is more surprised than he is to discover his uncanny ability to turn even an ordinary spoon into a weapon of mass destruction. With an obsessed agent [Topher Grace] hot on his heels, the newly reborn super-assassin summons his inner action-hero to try and save himself and the love of his life from complete destruction. The film is directed by Nima Nourizadeh [Project X, Cali] and written by Max Landis [Chronicle, Me Him Her].

perfect-guy-trailer-michael-ealyTHE PERFECT GUY Leah (Sanaa Lathan) is a successful lobbyist in a long-term relationship with Dave (Morris Chesnut). She decides it’s time to take the next step and get married and start a family. When Dave isn’t as sure that he’s ready for that, they split up. After Leah continually bumps into the charming Carter (Michael Ealy), they begin a relationship and she thinks she may have found the perfect guy. But, after a sexually-charged courtship, she sees a violent side of him and ends the relationship. In a jealous rage and fuelled by insane revenge, his heated obsession soon turns her idyllic life into a nightmare she cannot escape from.


hotel-transylvania-2-mov-jy-0469-68992134HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2  In this sequel to, “Hotel Transylvania”, the hotel is now open to human guests. Mavis and Johnny have a baby boy named Dennis whose lack of any vampire abilities worries his grandfather Count Dracula. When they leave for a visit to Johnny’s parents, Dracula calls upon friends Frank, Murray, Wayne, Griffin and Blobbie to assist him in putting Dennis through a ‘monster-in-training’ boot camp. However, when Dracula’s father, Vlad, arrives at the hotel for an impromptu family get-together, Hotel Transylvania is in for a collision of supernatural old-school and modern day cool.


PREMATURE  Rob is facing the biggest day of his life yet. He needs to nail his college interview ensuring entrance to his parents’ alma mater, keep his wits about him when life-long crush Angela – nicknamed ‘After School Special’ – finally seems to show interest, and deal with his best friends as realisation dawns that their high school days are ending. As the pressure builds, something strange happens: He finds himself reliving the day’s events over and over again. Is he stuck in a dream? Experiencing déjà vu? Or is Rob having a psychotic break?